Building a Wooden Raised Bed


Raised garden bed


Raised beds are a great cure-all for many types of soil or landscaping problems. You can build them on flat or sloped ground, or even right on top of concrete. They can be sized and shaped to meet your exact needs and you can fill them with topsoil and compost purchased from your local Home Depot, or found on your property. This project guide shows the basic steps for creating a rectangular raised bed with wooden sides.




• If the soil within your raised bed area is workable, it should be broken up and improved. Turn the soil over
  with a heavy rake and/or hoe and work in compost and other soil amendments, to a depth of a foot or more.

• Any wood you use should be naturally rot-resistant (cedar, redwood and others) or have been 
  pressure-treated to prevent decay.




• Modern pressure treated lumber utilizing MCQ or MCA technology will not leach harmful chemicals and is 
  considered safe for use around edibles.  If those types of pressure treated lumber are not available in your 
  area, you should consider using a wood species that is naturally rot-resistant for vegetable beds.
  Alternatively you can line the inside of the bed with pond liner to maintain a separation between the wood 
  and soil.




• To save money on materials, consider using less expensive materials found locally, including landscape 
   timbers, wood boards and scrap lumber.




Step 1: Fasten lumber pieces together

Fasten pieces together

Cut wood to the desired lengths then screw or nail together pieces of rot-resistant lumber. Use galvanized nails or screws. Nails are easier and faster, but screws are stronger and longer-lasting.


Step 2: Dig trench

Dig a trench

Dig a trench 1 to 2-inches deep where you want the raised bed to rest. Position the frame on the trench and make it level by adding soil or digging out more.


Step 3: Loosen soil

Loosen the soil

Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 12-inches, working in soil amendments as needed. There’s no need to remove turf (except for Bermuda grass) or most small weeds; they’ll break down and feed the soil.


Step 4: Add topsoil

Fill with high-quality topsoil

Fill with high-quality topsoil, or premium garden soils that contain additional organic matter and nutrients, to provide a more suitable environment for optimum plant growth. Afterwards, rake the soil smooth.


Step 5: Add mulch

Add Mulch

After planting your raised garden bed, add a layer of mulch to suppress weeds, conserve moisture and prevent many soil-borne diseases. Suitable mulches are pine needles, bark or other organic material.